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So what brought around these thoughts of the obscure you might ask? It was a visit today to the Valle d'Aosta where I met with Nicco and Jean Louis Merlet, a father and son team trying to preserve the vinous history of the region. The local superstar here in this small valley in Northwestern Italy happens to be a variety of Nebbiolo known locally as Picotendre or Picotendro. Grown on ancient terraces around the town of Donnas, cut from the steep and severe slopes of the local hills, Picotendre historically was blended with a little of the indigenous Gros Vien and the local Freisa to supply the regional market. Today few people choose to farm these slopes; one look will tell you why.

Discover the wines of Valle d'Aosta

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  • Snooth User: Richard Foxall
    Hand of Snooth
    262583 4,004

    Speaking of off the beaten path grapes from Rioja, the less-well-known Graciano makes really nice reds as well. Usually found in Rioja blends, there are some varietal bottles making their way to the US now. We finished one off last night, from Rio Madre (a label I bet was created just for the US market) and at $10 or so, this is a pleasure-giving bargain.

    May 22, 2013 at 2:18 PM

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